Farm buildings grouped around a courtyard, C18 to late C19. They include a barn of probable C18 date with later alterations; a late-C19 east range, possibly with earlier origins; late-C19 cattle shelter sheds and several small additions. Some alterations and repairs in the late C20/early C21.
Reasons for Designation
The courtyard farm buildings at Selworthy Farm are listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* as a well-preserved group of agricultural buildings which retain historic features such as stalls with wooden gates, feeding passages, wooden troughs and the remains of a later power system for farm machinery;
* the form and individual functions is highly legible, and where remodelling has taken place, the evolution is easily readable;
* for the good level of survival of internal features from a range of periods such as stalls with wooden gates, feeding passages, wooden troughs and the remains of a power system for farm machinery.
* they reflect the regional character of agricultural buildings and illustrate the diversity of past farming practices in England.
* as an integral part of the historic farmstead.
Selworthy Farm is situated at the lower (south-west) end of Selworthy, a narrow linear village that is recorded as Seleuurde in the Domesday Book. The farm dates from at least the C16. In 1802 the estate of Selworthy was inherited by Sir Thomas Dyke Acland (1787-1871), the tenth Baronet and Member of Parliament, and became part of the Holnicote Estate, the Exmoor seat of the Acland family. The family owned extensive lands in Somerset and Devon and had a great influence on its estates and its people. Both Sir Thomas and his son, also Thomas (1809-1898) and who became the 11th Baronet in 1871, undertook building projects and improvements across their landholdings. The 11th Baronet was a philanthropist who aimed to modernise his estates and improve the living conditions of agricultural labourers.
Selworthy Farm is depicted on the Holnicote Estate Map of 1809-1812, although the agricultural buildings are not clearly discernible. They are shown as an inverted S-shaped arrangement of attached buildings to the south-west of the C16 farmhouse on the Tithe map for Selworthy of 1840 and the group includes the barn and a building referred to in an estate document from 1828 as a ‘new linhay for 5/6 bullocks’. The current layout of the farmstead, however, dates principally from the late C19. Sometime between 1876 (Holnicote Estate map) and 1889 (first edition Ordnance Survey map) it was substantially remodelled; new buildings were added, some of the existing ones, including the barn, were repaired and/or adapted, and at least one building was demolished. In 1883-1884 a new farmhouse was also constructed, although the original, C16 dwelling was retained for ancillary purposes. The 1889 Ordnance Survey map depicts the farm as a group of attached agricultural buildings enclosing a courtyard to the south-west of the Victorian house. There are also two detached buildings further to the south of the Victorian house and one to the north-west. This layout remains relatively constant through the C20 except for small additions to some of the buildings. Sometime in the C20 the cart shed was adapted to a workshop and in the early C21 the barn was partially rebuilt following the collapse of its eastern end. A sheep dip shown on the modern Ordnance Survey map at the north-west corner of the north cattle shelter is not extant.
The Holnicote Estate remained in the hands of the Acland family until 1944 when it was gifted by the 15th Baronet Sir Richard Dyke Acland to the National Trust. Selworthy Farm was tenanted until the early C21 and the late-C19 farmhouse was renovated in 2020.
Farm buildings grouped around a courtyard, of C18 to late C19 date. They include a barn of probable C18 date with later alterations, including partial rebuilding in 2000; a late-C19 east range which possibly has earlier origins; late-C19 cattle shelter sheds and several small additions. Some alterations and repairs in the late C20/early C21.
They are constructed of random sandstone rubble, with some timber cladding to the shelter sheds, and stone and brick dressings. The roof of the barn is thatched, probably once hipped at its west end and modified to half hipped when the adjacent shelter shed was added. The roofs to the rest of the buildings are gabled, except for a hipped north-west corner, and are covered with double roman tiles.
The buildings enclose a rectangular courtyard which slopes gently to south-east and is laid with cobbles and has a series of stone-lined drains. Towards the centre is a brick water trough. Single-phase shelter sheds define the west, south and part of the north side of the yard. The barn at the north-east corner forms the remainder of the north side, and has lean-to additions on its north, south and east sides. A range extending south from the barn encloses the east side. The buildings are all single storey.
The BARN at the yard's north-east corner probably dates to the C18 and is double height. Slight differences in the colour and quality of the masonry, a vertical joint in the south elevation and a slight change in the roof profile provide evidence that historic alterations have taken place, while the repairs in brick, cob and render date from 2000. The north elevation is built partly of cob and has an unglazed window with an internal wooden shutter and two full-height, wide openings; the right-hand one is a later insertion. Between these openings is an early-C20 brick lean-to with a pair of timber doors and a two-light window. The barn’s east gable wall is blind and an early-C20, stone rubble lean-to with a north doorway has been added at the north-east corner. The south-facing, courtyard elevation has two doorways that are quite wide and slightly raised above ground level. They align with the openings in the north wall and seem to correspond with internal threshing floors. A late-C19 open-fronted lean-to shelter has been built along most of the south elevation. It has a corrugated metal sheet roof carried on circular rubble piers and contains a wooden feed trough set on a rubble stone base. The two left-hand bays have been enclosed using wide timber planks to form a separate stall. It has an east door of wide planks and a hayrack fixed to the external face of the barn.
The EAST RANGE is a long, rectangular building comprising stables and a cowshed that extends south from the barn and encloses the east side of the courtyard. It is depicted on the tithe map of 1841 and appears to have been substantially rebuilt in the late C19. The east elevation has a doorway (plank door off its hinges) to the far right (north), but no other openings, and there is also a doorway in the south gable end. The four open-fronted bays in the northern half of the courtyard elevation have been infilled with timber boards and concrete blocks, except for bay three which is gated. There is a C20 window in the blockwork to the right. The south half is built of stone rubble and has an off-centre entrance with a chamfered, pegged door surround and timber lintel and a timber-framed window of six glazed panes above wooden ventilation slats on either side.
The single-storey SHELTER SHEDS are stepped down the hillslope which falls away to the south and are of similar form and construction. The outward-facing elevations are blind except for a pedestrian doorway with ledged and braced plank door at the west end of the south shelter shed, an opening of paired doors at the south-west corner and an infilled doorway at the north-west corner. The east gable end of the south shelter shed has a deep stone plinth with weatherboarding above and a doorway approached by three stone steps. Its courtyard (north) elevation is open-fronted and divided into six bays by timber uprights on stone pads which also carry the roof. Each bay has a wooden five-bar gate. Several of the bays of the west shelter shed have been infilled with wooden boards and its north end has masonry walling with brick quoins either side of a slightly larger opening to form a separate stall. This has a late-C20 metal gate. The north shelter shed abuts the earlier barn to the east and has an L-shaped roof profile. Its stone-built courtyard elevation has a wide, full-height opening with brick jambs and a later timber post that supports the roof.
The BARN has no internal upper floor and is open to the roof. It is divided into two by an axial stone rubble wall of several building phases, and a doorway within the wall provides access between the two chambers. In the adjacent bay to the east is a horizontal drive shaft and fly wheels for transferring power probably from a portable engine to farm machinery. The drive shaft continues through into the C20 addition on the north side of the barn. No west wall exists, and the western half of the building opens onto the north shelter shed. Much of the roof structure was renewed in 2000 following the collapse of the eastern third of the building, although some historic timbers were retained. The trusses are pegged at the apex, strengthened with tie beams, and notched into short timber pads on the wallplate. There are two rows of staggered, trenched side purlins, a diagonal ridge piece and slabbed common rafters.
The south end of the EAST RANGE contains four modern loose boxes and has a cobbled floor with a brick drain running lengthways and one widthways level with the entrance. A doorway in the stone wall to the left leads to a tack room with modern fittings, and this is separated from the former cowshed beyond by a concrete block wall. There are pegged king-post, tie-beam trusses and a double row of purlins (one just above the wall plate) throughout.
The SHELTER SHEDS are inter-connected by feeding passages and they each have a longitudinal wooden feed trough on a low stone rubble wall, iron tethering rings and a cobbled floor which is overlaid in places with concrete. The south shelter shed is divided into stalls by timber partitions on stone plinths; some are rendered, and towards the north end of the west shed is another timber partition with a separate stall beyond. The roof of each shed has pegged king-post, tie-beam trusses and two rows of purlins (one just above the wall plate).